French commandos entered the apartment around 9:30 a.m. local time coming in through the door and windows, according to Gueant. He said the suspect came out from the bathroom shooting "very violently" and police, trying to protect themselves, fired back. Mohammed Merah jumped out of the window with a gun in his hand, continuing to fire, said the minister, and was found dead on the ground.
France Shooting Suspect Dead After Police Storm Apartment
Voice Of America
The man suspected of killing seven people in the southern city of Toulouse is dead following a raid on his apartment.
Interior Minister Claude Gueant said the suspect, 24-year-old Mohammed Merah, jumped from his window in a hail of bullets Thursday morning after police stormed his apartment following a 32 hour standoff.
Two policemen were wounded in a shootout with the suspect, Gueant said.
French commandos entered the apartment around 9:30 a.m. local time coming in through the door and windows, according to Gueant. He said the suspect came out from the bathroom shooting "very violently" and police, trying to protect themselves, fired back.
Merah jumped out of the window with a gun in his hand, continuing to fire, said the minister, and was found dead on the ground.
Officials said earlier that the suspect had expressed a desire "to die with weapons in his hands."
Merah, a Frenchman of Algerian origin, is accused of murdering a rabbi and three children, ages four, five and seven, at the Jewish school in Toulouse Monday before driving off on a motorcycle. French police said the alleged shooter used the same gun to kill three French soldiers of North African and Caribbean origin last week in Toulouse and a nearby town.
Two police officers were wounded in earlier attempts to storm the Toulouse house where the suspect was holed up.
Gueant said the suspect was angry about French military intervention abroad, and said he wanted to avenge Palestinian children killed in the Middle East. Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad denounced the killings, saying it is time for criminals to stop using the Palestinians to justify their cause.
Police say they received a tip from a Yamaha dealer in Toulouse who said he remembered that a young man had asked to have an antitheft device removed from a motorbike. Authorities said it was the same kind used in the recent murders.
U.S. President Barack Obama called French President Nicolas Sarkozy Wednesday while aboard Air Force One en route to Nevada. A White House statement said President Obama expressed his solidarity with President Sarkozy and the government and people of France. The statement said Obama underscored that the American people stand shoulder to shoulder with "our French allies and friends in this trying time."
During a funeral for two of the paratroopers in Montauban, north of Toulouse, Sarkozy said the slain soldiers were victims of "terrorist executions."
Far-right political leader Marine Le Pen lashed out against "Islamic fundamentalism" in an interview on Israeli radio Wednesday.
The bodies of the rabbi and three children were buried Wednesday in Israel. The four held dual French-Israeli citizenship.
Some information for this report was provided by AP and Reuters.